Japan to allow longer stays for digital nomads to boost consumption

Photo credit: KABAR

Japan plans to enable foreign talent and remote workers, known as "digital nomads," to stay longer in the country under a new visa system in order to boost economic growth and consumption, the government said Friday, Kyodo reports.

Under the envisioned system, foreign digital nomads, who travel while working remotely for companies, will be able to reside in Japan for up to six months by obtaining the designated activities visa, a rise from the current 90 days allowed under the short-term tourist visa, according to the Immigration Services Agency.

To be granted the visa, workers will have to meet certain conditions, including being a resident in one of the 49 visa-exempt countries and regions that have tax treaties with Japan and will be expected to have an annual income of more than 10 million yen ($68,200). Their spouse and children will also be granted entry.

The government will solicit opinions from the public on the plan from Saturday, with an eye on introducing the system within fiscal 2023 ending March.

The move comes as business circles request the government to expand efforts to welcome digital nomads into the country. It is estimated more than 35 million people are working as digital nomads across the world, according to the Immigration Services Agency, citing a U.S. travel firm survey.

In June last year, the government said it would consider increasing the duration they will be eligible to stay as part of the "new capitalism" growth and redistribution policy approved in June.

Digital nomads "can become a source of innovation," said Justice Minister Ryuji Koizumi during a press conference. "While many countries are making efforts to attract them, we hope those people will work in Japan too."

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